Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Victorian Cape for Fifteen Bucks! (Flea Market Find)

Good morning!

Do you know I have been waiting all week to write you about my second best flea market acquisition of the month of December? I was hoping that it would warm up enough for me to take photos outside, but hélas, it's been stubbornly cold all week and I can't face the cold AND the sleepiness AND the time constraints of first thing in the morning, all three at the same time. So instead, I've taken some super oversaturated, light-blinded photos inside-- I hope you'll excuse the bad photography for a crazy good find. Check it out! My new Victorian cape!


How do you like that, folks! I was at the flea market in "Antiques Alley", just seconds after I picked up the Bob Mackie sequin dress from the Christmas party, and was walking across the aisle to mention to my dad that I was going to go try on this crazy thing on for size. As I reached him (he was rifling through some WWII era newsletters on a card table), hanging on the wall above a table was this cape on a metal hanger, and a large label tag safety pinned to the collar with "$15" written in bold black marker. The following mini-conversation ensued.

Lisa: Hey, dad, I was about to...what does that tag say?
Dad: Uhh...fifteen dollars.
Lisa: Not seventy-five, right?
Dad: No, it looks like a one.
Lisa: [practically hurdle jumps towards the hanger] Well, I was going to tell you I was going to go try this dress on, but now I'm going to buy this cape and THEN try this dress on.

It looks rougher in the pictures than it does in real life, but it's a fully lined, waist-length, stiff velvet cape with bear fur down the front of the piece. Someone has removed the fur in tufts (maybe for another project?) from the neck of the cape, but you can see where, at one time, it boasted a full, fur-trimmed stand-up collar, just like in the movies. It was love at first sight for this natty little thing!


I took the cape into the booth where a very old woman and her adult daughter were unwrapping ceramics from plastic bags to put them out on the tables for sale. "That looks like you," the daughter said, as I was wearing my huge Persian lamb coat and a black skirt and boots at the time, I probably did look like the kind of person who would snap up an antique velvet cape with the strike-instincts of a cobra. I stammered my way through the transaction (I am incapable of playing it cool when I'm that excited about a score), passed over a twenty dollar bill, and walked away with a hundred year old cape and five dollars change!

Fellow vintage-lovers, you know you can't get a battered left shoe missing its mate if it's older than 1960 for $15 at some of the flea market booths, so this was the coup of the century, as far as I'm concerned. How romantic and Dark Shadows-y am I going to feel in this? Here I am posed in front of the buggy blanket hanging in the den, and if there was just a tiny bit more definition on my face, I would use this photo as a calling card. So much drama in the 615!


 And, in a serious mode:


I think this item from Dorothea's Closet is what the cape is actually supposed to look like, if someone hadn't hacked off the fur around the collar:

Dramatic Collared Velvet Cape with Fur Trim circa Late 1800s
Now, people, where do you find "bear trim" nowadays to restore this cape to its former glory? I saw a "hair purse" Zoë over at The Girl with the Flower made a couple months back, and now I'm thinking if I could get stiff-enough hair, this might be a reasonable stand-in for the poor bear's pelt! The wheels are spinning upstairs, folks, the wheels are spinning.

As I said about the $15 price being completely insane, here's a similar item on Etsy, just as distressed if not more so by age as mine is, selling for $250. Now, that doesn't mean they're necessarily going to get $250 for it, but it gives you an idea of how incredible it is to find something like this, being sold by an antiques dealer, for less than $50.

Vintage Steampunk Victorian Edwardian Cape Caplet Carriage Fur
Once I started look for comparable items, I found ALL KINDS of even prettier pieces online. When you put "applique", "beaded" "fur trim" and "capelet" all in the same listing description, you KNOW I am listening with all ears. If you took my Stevie Nicks Victorian coat and mated it with this cape I just bought, you would get these pieces. Maybe I should hang them closer together in the closet in hopes of a beautiful progeny springing forth, fully formed, from their union

ELIZA DOOLITTLE Victorian Applique Beaded Fur Trim Capelet
Cape With Stand Up Collar Red Rich Satin Lining Beading and Trim Detail Victorian Goth
Antique 1890s Victorian Black Plush Velvet Wide Cape Soutache Braiding & Beading
Antique Victorian Black Velvet Mourning Cape with Jet beadwork, Lace appplique & Fur Trim
Victorian Carriage Cape Beaded Brown Velvet and Tooling Original Lining Beautiful Condition

Anyway, what do you think? Do I look like a crazy Eliza Doolittle type character in my cape or do you agree that it was just un-pass-up-able in its inexpensiveness and its gothic charm? I seriously want to wear it every day. What do you think could be done about replacing the collar? Have you found anything seriously awesome for a seriously low price lately? What's the oldest piece in your vintage clothing closet? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I will catch you kids on the flipside tomorrow. The weekend is coming closer and closer! Have a great Wednesday, and I'll see you soon!

15 comments:

  1. i have only one word - ENVY!!!!!!

    :-)

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    1. Haha, thanks! It's warm, too! I need to wear it out sometime this week, talk about DRAMA, right?

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  2. Oh my stars!! I have been super wanting a cape but am weird and finicky and know nothing will match the perfect cape I have imagined. And can we talk about bear fur!??! I love it.

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    1. I got it home and looked it over after the initial thrill of buying it, and I was like...what kind of fur IS this? And then looking it up, that came up again and again in google and etsy results, so I think it's the real deal! I hope you find your dream cape (I'll keep an eye out for the next one now that I know you need one! :) )!

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  3. Oh my goodness!! What a stunning find - well done on keeping it together when handing over the money... it looks amazing on you :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Helen! I always try to play it cool when I'm excited about something like that, but I don't know if I always succeed! I can't wait to wear this out.

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  4. You look fantastic!!! What a steal. I never thought about BEAR fur being used before!

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    1. Thanks! Isn't that weird? And talk about "Um, where do you buy 'replacement' bear fur?" I'll keep you posted on whether I'm able to find something to trim the collar. It will be SO. MARLENE. DIETRICH. THEN. Shanghai Express, here I come!

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  5. That is awesome. It would never be that low priced here. The other day I saw a rabbit fur coat at the thrift they wanted like $50 for. Great deal

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    1. I know!!!!! I get so frustrated seeing things in the thrift store being marked upwards of $50 because they're of high quality material. "But, you see, we really couldn't sell it for less, it's real leather/fur..." I know they're leather or fur, that's why I want them! :p This was a pre-Christmas miracle.

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  6. You look great in it, and so happy! What a fun find.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! I feel like a 1920's publicity photo for some vampy starlet in it!

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  7. BEAR FUR?! Yeah, this is one heck of a find!! Love what you're wearing with it, too.

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    1. Thank you! I tried on the dress with it with the boots and all and went, "This is juuuuust Brontë enough." :) There's so much swishing to a full skirt and cape!

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  8. Are you monetizing your premium file uploads?
    Did you know AdscendMedia will pay you an average of $500 per 1,000 file downloads?

    ReplyDelete

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